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NOVICA Artisan Shamseeya Atideka

Shamseeya Atideka

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I was born in 1987 in the Eastern Region of Ghana. My friends say I am respectful, hardworking and friendly.

There are six children in our lovely family — three boys and three girls. I am the fifth-born. I lived in a God fearing community.

"Once, my parents sent me to buy cooked rice from a roadside restaurant. I ate part of the rice before I got home and, when they asked me about the small portion, I told them that was what was sold to me. They took me back to the rice seller and, when the truth came out, I was severely scolded before we even got home.

"My parents couldn't afford for me to attend senior high school so, after completing junior high, I went to Accra to search for a job.

"My love of beads led me try my hand at jewelry crafting. My sister once bought a waist bead design, which was very expensive. I took it one day when she wasn't around and went to buy some ordinary beads to make the same thing.

"Everyone liked it and encouraged to do more. So I did. Later, I began designing necklaces, slippers, earrings and bracelets. I enjoyed jewelry crafting so much that I enrolled in a designing school where I studied for six months and created even more unique designs on my own.

"My sister had a shop selling wigs and cosmetics and she let me show my beaded jewelry there. Eventually, I set up a small workshop where I craft my designs. With continuous practice, I mastered this craft and have even taught it to others.

"I developed unsightly keloid scars around one of my ears due to an earring my parents chose for me when I was a girl. As I grew up, people started showing me different types of medicine to treat it but none did heal it. I finally had to go to the Korle Bu Hospital for surgery. I didn't have the money but my wonderful friends helped me pay and I'm very grateful to them all.

"When I look toward the future, my dream is to become the best designer I can be. I also want to train more people in the art of traditional West African bead making."